By-election race for Northcote seat heats up
Two Māori candidates are set to contest the Northcote by-election, triggered by Jonathan Coleman's resignation from parliament.
Dan Bidois and Shannan Halbert, both 35 and well-educated professionals, are standing for National and Labour respectively.
As Labour's candidate, Halbert is the most experienced campaigner of the two, having stood against Coleman in last year's election.
“We did so well, we cut the majority from 10,000 to 6200,” says Halbert.
“That's a significant chunk for a five-month campaign, and that indicates to me that people are looking for change, and now that we don't have an incumbent MP, it's game on.”
But newcomer Bidois is unfazed.
“We’re not going to take anything for granted so we are going to be making sure we get out there, do the groundwork and really listen to residents.”
With a price tag of $1 million for the by-election, it will be a true test of new National leader Simon Bridges’ leadership. The party has dominated north of the Harbour Bridge in the general seats.
“We've got the whole party behind us on this front and I'm fully supportive of Simon Bridges,” says Bidois, “and we would want a convincing victory here in Northcote to demonstrate we are still one of the largest and the most popular party in the country.”
Halbert says the prime minister will be at his side during the campaign, but with 64 seats to 56 seats, even if he takes out Northcote, Labour would still need to rely on the other two parties to pass legislation.
The Northcote by-election is set for June 9.